ABUJA, NIGERIA—Like so many developing states, Nigeria showcases poverty while exhibiting potential. People are entrepreneurial but the state is exploitative. Wealth is made but too often stolen. Evidence of security—which really means insecurity—is everywhere.
Americans also suffer from crime, of course. But most of us fly around the country without giving the matter much thought. We hop into our cars without a bodyguard joining us. There are areas a smart traveler wouldn’t go. But most folks in the U.S. rarely imagine the potential of a daylight robbery or kidnapping.
Not so in Nigeria, however. I traveled with a journalist group on a business tour. We were met by representatives of the organizer, along with a driver and two national policemen armed with AK-47s. When we convoyed with figures of business or political note the guard multiplied dramatically.
All of my hotels around the country—Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt—had metal detectors. High walls and gates manned by armed security personnel. And multiple security guards, at the entrance, wandering the grounds, and even stationed by the elevators on each floor overnight.